Their Biographies, Issue Positions, Voting Records, Public Statements, Ratings and their Funders.
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Joaquin Castro's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

Office: U.S. House (TX) - District 20, Democratic

On The Ballot: Running, Democratic for U.S. House (TX) - District 20


Official Position: Candidate addressed this issue directly by taking the Political Courage Test.

Inferred Position: Candidate refused to address this issue, but Vote Smart inferred this issue based on the candidate's public record, including statements, voting record, and special interest group endorsements.

Unknown Position: Candidate refused to address this issue, or we could not infer an answer for this candidate despite exhaustive research of their public record.

Additional Information: Click on this icon to reveal more information about this candidate's position, from their answers or Vote Smart's research.

Other or Expanded Principles & Legislative Priorities are entered exactly as candidates submit them. Vote Smart does not edit for misspelled words, punctuation or grammar.

Joaquin Castro has failed to provide voters with positions on key issues covered by the 2020 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests from Vote Smart and voters like you.

What is the Political Courage Test?

Issue Positions

For Presidential and Congressional candidates who refuse to provide voters with their positions, Vote Smart has researched their public records to determine their likely responses. These issue positions are from 2020.

  • Rated 100% by Planned Parenthood. (votesmart.org)
  • "This ruling protects millions of Texas women's rights and their access to personal, critical healthcare. Thanks to the Supreme Court's decision, women can receive the care they need in safe facilities with good doctors." (votesmart.org)
  • "Today, the House has given final approval to an unpopular bill that mostly benefits corporate America and the wealthiest among us, and explodes the deficit by $1.5 trillion. It didn't have to be this way. Republicans could have worked with Democrats to develop tax reform legislation that actually promotes economic and wage growth, protects working families and is fiscally responsible." (votesmart.org)
  • "Americans deserve fiscally responsible tax legislation that protects working families, and encourages economic growth and job creation. Instead, the GOP has crafted a partisan giveaway to the wealthiest among us at the expense of seniors and middle-class families." (votesmart.org)
  • Rated 100% by Alliance for Retired Americans. (votesmart.org)
  • "As we recognize the anniversary of #Medicaid and #Medicare, #Texas continues to have the highest uninsured rate in the country – nearly double the national rate. We must protect these vital lifelines for seniors, children, and the disabled." (twitter.com)
  • "I joined @OrganizeTexas @RepLloydDoggett to shed light on #Medicaid & #Medicare cuts. #Texas continues to have the highest uninsured rate in the country. Expanding cuts to these programs jeopardizes American lives to provide bigger tax cuts to the wealthy & large corporations." (twitter.com)
  • Signed a letter stating: "In this moment of crisis, when millions of Americans are struggling to make ends meet and fear for their retirement, we should be enhancing Social Security, not developing policies to reduce benefits." (votesmart.org)
  • "They were fired up about ending #citizensunited in this country. Corporate dark money has no place in our politics. Period." (twitter.com)
  • Rated 83% by Common Cause. (votesmart.org)
  • Voted in favor of HR 1 - For the People Act. (votesmart.org)
  • "This moment in history requires nothing short of a transformative response to systemic racism and police brutality. From banning chokeholds, no-knock warrants and racial profiling, to limiting qualified immunity and establishing a national use of force standard, I'm proud to co-sponsor this bill to achieve bold police reform." (votesmart.org)
  • Voted in favor of HR 7120 - George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020. (votesmart.org)
  • Rated 0% by Center for Security Policy. (votesmart.org)
  • "But, don't just take our word for it. In 2013, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said, "If you don't fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition ultimately. So I think it's a cost benefit ratio. The more that we put into the State Department's diplomacy, hopefully the less we have to put into a military budget as we deal with the outcome of an apparent American withdrawal from the international scene."" (votesmart.org)
  • Voted in favor of HR 22 - Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. (votesmart.org)
  • "The indefinite detention of minors, in questionable facilities, will negatively impact these kids & is degrading our budget. These resources could be used for other things to make America better like infrastructure, healthcare, and better paying jobs." (twitter.com)
  • "After a full year of pitching, @realDonaldTrump unveiled an #infrastructure "plan" that fails to meet the needs of Americans. This plan falsely asserts that $200 billion from federal govt over 10 yrs will spur $1.3 trillion from state & local govts & the private sector." (twitter.com)
  • "Extending these commonsense tax credits will put folks to work, build upon the past few years of steady economic growth, and provide relief to Americans who do so much to make our country even better." (votesmart.org)
  • "President Trump’s deep corporate tax cut was supposed to stop this kind of thing from happening." (twitter.com)
  • Voted in favor of HR 266 - Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. (votesmart.org)
  • "Congress must meet the enormous health care and financial needs of the American people in this unprecedented moment. This bill will provide some financial relief for Americans, provide hospitals desperately needed funds, and inject hundreds of billions of dollars into the economy. While it will undoubtedly help Americans, I had hoped that the bill would offer more relief to regular Americans rather than corporate conglomerates." (votesmart.org)
  • Rated 100% by the National Education Association. (votesmart.org)
  • Rated 0% by American Energy Alliance. (votesmart.org)
  • "Fortunately, lifting of the crude oil export ban is coupled with the inclusion of extensions for wind and solar renewable energy tax credits. I've long called for a more balanced approach to energy policy, and I'm pleased to see that negotiators achieved a compromise that prepares the United States for a sustainable energy future. Extending renewable energy tax credits will incentivize the increased use and development of forward-looking technology." (votesmart.org)
  • "The U.S. now stands alone as the only country outside the Paris Agreement. Climate change is real and happening all around us. For our kids and our future, it’s time to act, rejoin our allies and friends, and save our planet." (twitter.com)
  • Voted in favor of HR 9 - Climate Action Now Act. (votesmart.org)
  • Rated 100% by Environment America. (votesmart.org)
  • Signed a letter stating: "Our nation has suffered at least 74 school shootings since the Sandy Hook massacre. The factors allowing these rampages are no mystery: loopholes in the background check laws, straw purchases, restrictions on law enforcement, and gaps in our mental health system." (votesmart.org)
  • "My heart breaks for the victims of today's shooting in Santa Clarita, CA. The scourge of gun violence has hit yet another community and taken too many lives. Our kids and students are living in fear. Teachers are living in fear. Parents are living in fear. #EnoughIsEnough" (twitter.com)
  • Rated 13% by National Rifle Association. (votesmart.org)
  • Voted in favor of HR 1112 - Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019. (votesmart.org)
  • "The Affordable Care Act means access to quality, affordable health care coverage no matter your lot in life. The Affordable Care Act has benefited over 70 million Americans who already had insurance, but are now able to take advantage of preventive care services, like immunizations and mammograms, free of charge." (votesmart.org)
  • "I just voted against a resolution that begins the process of repealing the #ACA. My statement:" (twitter.com)
  • Voted in favor of HR 6201 - Families First Coronavirus Response Act. (votesmart.org)
  • "The border wall is a lazy and ineffective security strategy." (votesmart.org)
  • Rated 0% by the Federation for Immigration Reform. (votesmart.org)
  • "These costly measures and the administration's insistence on building an ineffective, multi-billion dollar border wall are not efficient uses of our resources." (votesmart.org)
  • Rated 0% by the Federation for Immigration Reform. (votesmart.org)
  • "I stand with Dreamers today and always. #DACA" (twitter.com)
  • "Since the Trump Administration's decision to end DACA, over 10,000 young people have become subject to deportation. It's time for Congress to #ProtectDREAMers and provide a permanent solution by passing the #DREAMAct." (twitter.com)
  • "The US and UN just passed new, stronger sanctions against North Korea. We should leverage those sanctions before rushing to "fire and fury."" (twitter.com)
  • "I commend Secretaries Kerry and Moniz for their tireless efforts negotiating this agreement and for their and President Obama's steadfast commitment to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. This agreement has the potential to position the United States and our allies toward a future of peace and security. Initial readings of the deal's text indicate it contains stringent accountability measures that protect against the possibility of a nuclear-armed Iran. Congress will now have a say in how the United States proceeds, and I hope that my colleagues will take time to thoroughly and thoughtfully evaluate the details of the agreement our negotiators achieved." (votesmart.org)
  • Rated 0% by Center for Security Policy. (votesmart.org)
  • "There's only two ways to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons: diplomacy (incl. sanctions) or war. No one has said they want war." (twitter.com)
  • "Sanctioning shipping and trading companies in North Korea sends a clear message to the Kim regime that the United States will not tolerate their current behavior. Such sanctions could be useful, especially when combined with a broader engagement strategy. But instead, the Trump Administration touts their desire for a "bloody nose' strike while neglecting to fill key diplomatic posts in the Peninsula. This is deeply troubling." (votesmart.org)
  • Rated 0% by Center for Security Policy. (votesmart.org)
  • "Engaging in military strikes in #Syria—without a broader, comprehensive strategy for U.S. engagement in the Middle East—can further destabilize an already turbulent region. #SyriaStrike" (twitter.com)
  • "Iran's threat to breach uranium stockpiles and the hasty U.S. decision to send an additional 1K troops to the Middle East adds more fuel to an already raging fire. The Trump Administration needs to take a long and hard look at its reckless approach before it is too late." (twitter.com)
  • "That means repealing the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that's proliferated U.S military engagements. We must bring the nearly two decade war in Afghanistan to an end. We must end the U.S. government's role in the Saudi-led war in Yemen, doing everything we can to end the severe human suffering exacerbated by the Trump administration's suspension of humanitarian aid. The House Foreign Affairs Committee must take a leading role in reclaiming War Powers from the Executive branch. After years of blood and treasure lost in endless wars, COVID-19's daily death toll is a tragic reminder that our military might alone cannot protect us from global challenges." (votesmart.org)
  • Voted in favor of HR 5430 - United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Implementation Act. (votesmart.org)
  • Rated 100% by Public Citizen. (votesmart.org)
  • "Texas does more trade than any state in the nation. Mexico is our top trading partner. President Trump's announced intent to impose tariffs on all Mexican imports will have severe consequences for Texas consumers and businesses, and will only invite reciprocal tariffs by Mexico, compounding the economic harm." (votesmart.org)
  • "Texas exports more than any other state in our nation, and the value of commerce with Mexico and Canada is critical to Texan workers and businesses." (votesmart.org)
This candidate has responded to a Political Courage Test in a previous election. As a continued effort to provide the American public with factual information on candidates running for public office, these archived responses are made available here.
The Political Courage Test asks candidates which items they will support if elected. It does not ask them to indicate which items they will oppose. Through extensive research of public polling data, we discovered that voters are more concerned with what candidates would support when elected to office, not what they oppose. If a candidate does not select a response to any part or all of any question, it does not necessarily indicate that the candidate is opposed to that particular item.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding abortion.

a) Abortions should always be illegal.
b) Abortions should always be legal.
c) Abortions should be legal only within the first trimester of pregnancy.
d) Abortions should be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape.
e) Abortions should be legal when the life of the woman is endangered.
f) Prohibit public funding of abortions and to organizations that advocate or perform abortions.
g) Require clinics to give parental notification before performing abortions on minors.
h) Other or expanded principles

State Budget: Indicate the funding levels (#1-6) you will support for the following general categories. Select one level per category.State Taxes: Indicate the tax levels (#1-6) you will support. Select one level per tax.

Greatly Increase a) Education (Higher)
Greatly Increase b) Education (K-12)
Greatly Increase c) Emergency preparedness
Greatly Increase d) Environment
Greatly Increase e) Health care
Greatly Increase f) Law enforcement
Slightly Increase g) Transportation and highway infrastructure
Slightly Increase h) Welfare
i) Other or expanded categories
Slightly Increase a) Alcohol taxes
b) Capital gains taxes
Maintain Status c) Cigarette taxes
Maintain Status d) Corporate taxes
Greatly Decrease e) Gasoline taxes
Slightly Decrease f) Sales taxes
Maintain Status g) Vehicle taxes
Undecided i) Should the state sales taxes be extended to Internet sales?
Yes j) Should accounts such as a “rainy day” fund be used to balance the state budget?
Undecided k) Should fee increases be used to balance the state budget?
Texas just increased cigarette taxes by $1.00
The questions above will require different solutions depending on the fiscal outlook.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding campaign finance and government reform.c) Do you support limiting the following types of contributions to state legislative candidates?

Yes a) Do you support limiting the number of terms for Texas governors?
b) Do you support limiting the number of terms for Texas state senators and representatives?
Yes 1) Individual
Yes 2) PAC
Yes 3) Corporate
No 4) Political Parties
Yes d) Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?
Undecided e) Do you support imposing spending limits on state level political campaigns?
Yes f) Do you support adopting statewide standards for counting, verifying and ensuring accuracy of votes?
Undecided g) Do you support prohibiting media exit polling of voters until all polling locations in Texas are closed?
h) Should Texas recognize civil unions between same-sex couples?
Undecided i) Should the governor, rather than local authorities, be in charge of ordering emergency evacuations?
j) Other or expanded principles

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding crime.

a) Increase state funds for construction of state prisons and hiring of additional prison staff.
b) Support the death penalty in Texas.
X c) Support programs to provide prison inmates with vocational and job-related skills and job-placement assistance when released.
d) End parole for repeat violent offenders.
X e) Implement penalties other than incarceration for certain non-violent offenders.
f) Decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
X g) Strengthen penalties and sentences for drug-related crimes.
h) Minors accused of a violent crime should be prosecuted as adults.
X i) Require that crimes based on race, ethnic background, religious belief, sex, age, disability, or sexual orientation be prosecuted as hate crimes.
X j) Increase state funding for community centers and other social agencies in areas with at-risk youth.
X k) Increase state funding for state and local emergency agencies to prevent or respond to terrorism.
X l) Strengthen sex-offender laws.
X m) Support the restriction of the sale of products used to make methamphetamine (e.g. tablets containing pseudophedrine, ephedrine and phenylpropanolamine).
n) Other or expanded principles

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding education.

X a) Support national standards and testing of public school students.
b) Provide parents with state-funded vouchers to send their children to any public school.
c) Provide parents with state-funded vouchers to send their children to any private or religious school.
X d) Increase state funds for school capital improvements (e.g. buildings and infrastructure).
X e) Increase funds for hiring additional teachers.
f) Support teacher testing and reward with merit pay.
g) Endorse voluntary prayer in public schools.
h) Support requiring public schools to administer high school exit exams.
X i) Provide state funding to increase teacher salaries.
X j) Increase funding for Head Start programs.
X k) Provide state funding for tax incentives and financial aid to help make college more affordable.
X l) Support sexual education programs that include information on abstinence, contraceptives, and HIV/STD prevention methods.
m) Support abstinence-only sexual education programs.
X n) Allow undocumented immigrant high school graduates to pay in-state tuition at Texas public universities.
X o) Support Texas' school funding equalization system (share-the-wealth).
q) Other or expanded principles
We need to rely less on property taxes and, once and for all, break the geographic link between collection and distribution of funds. It has led to territorialism.

Employment: Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding employment.Affirmative Action: Should race, ethnicity or gender be taken into account in state agencies’ decisions on:

X a) Increase funding for state job-training programs that retrain displaced workers and teach skills needed in today’s job market.
b) Reduce state government regulations on the private sector in order to encourage investment and economic expansion.
X c) Provide low interest loans and tax credits for starting, expanding, or relocating businesses.
X d) Provide tax credits for businesses that provide child care for children in low-income working families.
X e) Increase state funds to provide child care for children in low-income working families.
f) Include sexual orientation in Texas' anti-discrimination laws.
X g) Increase the state minimum wage.
h) Other or expanded principles
Yes a) Public employment
Yes b) State college and university admissions
Yes c) State contracting
d) Other or expanded principles

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding the environment and energy.

X a) Promote increased use of alternative fuel technology.
X b) Support increased production of traditional domestic energy sources (e.g. coal, natural gas, and oil).
X c) Use state funds to clean up former industrial and commercial sites that are contaminated, unused, or abandoned.
X d) Increase funding for improvements to Texas' power generating and transmission facilities.
X e) Support funding for open space preservation.
f) Enact environmental regulations even if they are stricter than federal law.
g) Other or expanded principles

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding guns.

a) Maintain and strengthen the enforcement of existing state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
b) Ease state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
c) Repeal state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
d) Allow citizens to carry concealed guns.
e) Require background checks on gun sales between private citizens at gun shows.
f) Require a license for gun possession.
g) Other or expanded principles

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding health.

X a) Ensure that citizens have access to basic health care through managed care, insurance reforms, or state-funded care where necessary.
b) Texas should continue to use the private contractor Accenture to process Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) applications.
c) Transfer current Medicaid recipients into managed care programs.
d) Limit the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits.
X e) Support patients' right to sue their HMOs.
f) Guaranteed medical care to all citizens is not a responsibility of state government.
g) Legalize physician assisted suicide in Texas.
h) Allow doctors to prescribe marijuana to their patients for medicinal purposes.
i) Other or expanded principles

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding welfare.

X a) Support increased work requirements for able-bodied welfare recipients.
X b) Increase funding for employment and job training programs for welfare recipients.
X c) Increase access to public transportation for welfare recipients who work.
d) Redirect welfare funding to faith-based and community-based private organizations.
X e) Use federal TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) funds to extend health and child care subsidies to the working poor.
f) Support marriage promotion programs for welfare recipients.
g) Eliminate government-funded welfare programs.
h) Other or expanded principles
Please explain in a total of 75 words or less, your top two or three priorities if elected. If they require additional funding for implementation, please explain how you would obtain this funding.

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